May 12, 2015

Sacred Art and the New Evangelization

The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas is excited to offer an opportunity to engage the New Evangelization through the lens of beauty.  Sacred Art and the New Evangelization is described by David Clayton as "...more than teaching you about the New Evangelization – it will tell you how to be part of it, a new person, transformed in Christ and through beauty, and showing Christ to others in our everyday activities."  This is the second year we have offered this opportunity with Dr. Caroline Farey and David Clayton, and the response has been tremendous.  For more information, check out the registration page.

September 26, 2014

Sorry, Holy Spirit, That Doesn’t Fit Our Schedule

What courage it can take to make a phone call!

Every year, I listen to trembling voices on the phone. Their stories vary but the tremble is always there. I’m not sure how I became so blessed to hear these voices but I do know that I am. You see, these are not calls from folks asking about parish events or requesting baptismal certificates or planning a wedding or baptism. 

These are calls from people seeking to become Catholic.

Some have discerned for years. Some were visitors at a wedding or funeral and “felt something” inside the Church. Some have resisted making the call because they were hoping the feeling would pass. Some have no clue why they are calling but they know something in their lives needs to change. Some are nervous about even asking questions because, as they tell me, they’re afraid they will “sound stupid.” Some burst into tears and can barely tell their stories. Some are firm about doing this but are nervous about how their families will react. Some are lost and wounded but they say “I have to do this.” Some are stunned they are calling but they “heard” in their hearts a strong voice saying “do this now.” 

What courage it can take to make a phone call!

These calls cannot be rushed. They do not want to just be told “RCIA is on Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. in the library. See you then.” (The caller's first question is 'what in the world is RCIA?') It takes time for some of them to even know what they need. Some desperately just need to tell their stories. Others want to be reassured gently that they can do this. Some are so excited they tell you so over and over. A few aren’t sure that they can go beyond the phone call. Some are ready to begin NOW but then don't follow through this year but will the next.  

What courage it can take to make a phone call!

Calls like these require all of us to respond as spiritual mothers and fathers. We need to listen, encourage and guide gently. The caller is someone’s child who wants to come home. Like parents, we need to be flexible at times, too. This may mean making time to instruct and guide a soul who cannot attend your RCIA class. It may mean having a soul start instructions at a later date than noted on your RCIA schedule. It may mean that you go to them if they physically cannot get to you. Most of all, it means we need to pray for all of these spiritual children who want to come home.

The Holy Spirit has been busy – do we really want to be responsible for sending a soul away because he or she can’t follow our RCIA schedule? Sorry, Holy Spirit! We started class already! Sorry Holy Spirit! We only meet on Tuesday evenings! Sorry, Holy Spirit! We don’t do evenings or weekends.

What courage it can take to make a phone call! 

What courage will we show in answering that call?

July 16, 2014

Encountering the Other

I went to Canada this summer and encountered a new saint and friend at St. Josephs Oratory in Montreal.  This is the story of Br. Andre that I would like to share with you.

He was a simple man with a devotion to St. Joseph and love for the Lord.  He was a doorkeeper at the college.  He was assigned the smallest of roles to serve his religious community. “My superiors assigned me to the door and there I stayed for 40 years.”  He was completely obedient to what was asked of him. You may find more of his story here.

I was struck by how he lived his life.  He opened the door and greeted others.  He was attentive and listened to them.  He gave himself tirelessly for people. He had a heart for all those he encountered and was completely present to their needs.  Over 1 million people attended the funeral of this simple porter.

He is an ever-endearing model and reminder for me to be little and simplify my own life.  His life reflects the wonders God can do in a humble and loving heart.  I am often tempted to complicate unimportant things.  St. Andre reminds me to encounter Christ by simply being present to others. 

Thank you Br. Andre for your friendship, your story, and welcoming all those you encountered with gracious hospitality.

Pray that we may encounter each person like you did today.

June 18, 2014

Sharing Your Personal Testimony and More

In one of my first discussions with Archbishop Joseph Naumann after he appointed me Director of Evangelization, he expressed his desire for every catholic in Northeast Kansas to be able to give a personal testimony.  It was and still is his belief that as disciples of Jesus Christ we should be ready to share how God has worked in our lives.  Just like seminarians are prepared to explain how they were called to consider the priesthood, each person has a story of how God has called them to Himself.  Each person's story can also be used by God to call someone else to Himself.  However, we can all become more refined in how we appreciate and share our story of God's goodness in our lives.  With that in mind, the Office of Evangelization in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas hosted a series of speakers across Northeast Kansas this past Lent about sharing a personal testimony.  Although live-streamed at the time, each talk is also now hosted on the archdiocesan Digital Media Center.  I am thrilled that Olivia Stear, Renee Winkel, and Michael Shirley all agreed to share their witness and encourage each of us to better share our personal testimony.  Each of them approaches witness and sharing a personal testimony from a unique angle.

You can see Olivia Stear's presentation here.

Renee Winkel's presentation is here.

Michael Shirley's presentation can be found here.